Let me ask you: If you had to name one invention that truly made the world a better place to live, what would it be?
Architecture... maybe the Empire State Building?
The internal combustion engine?
Nay, I say. I say it is cured meats. Not because it was the means to keep us from dying of various nasty things. No. It's because they taste so damned good.
Let me introduce you to: The 8 hour sandwich. Or maybe it's the 4 day sandwich. It depends on how you measure it I guess.
I have toyed around with the salt cured meat in a couple of baconacious slabs of yummy pork.
And for several years I have played with the smoke cure of the barbecue pit.
And now, the culmination of the two arts: Pastrami. The salt cure of the brine. And 6 hours of heavy smoke. And I must say, it tastes just as heavenly as it sounds.
But I get a head of myself.
It all starts with a brisket -- the tough ass boot of the steak world. And yet, so yummy. Being the cheap ass bastard that I am, I buy a stack of them when they go on sale and shove them in the freezer, which explains the frosty twisted look of this puppy. I keep a hacksaw stowed in the kitchen for emergencies like this one. However, I guess I have not quite ever attacked something quite this big. I was a sweaty mess after cutting this bad boy. I guess I need a coarser tooth on the saw.
Next comes the brine....and 3 days curing in the fridge. Note here the cure is done and its just about ready to go to...the smoker. You might notice the pastrami has a couple of friends in the poultry family. As a rule there is always a chicken in the smoker at our house. If you go to the effort to light it and smoke all day, you might as well have chicken for lunch. And smoked chicken is the ultimate ingredient: enchiladas, chili, soup -- you name it. Smoke 2 or 3 chickens, rip them up and chuck them in the freezer. It's the rule.Isn't she beautiful? All blackened and covered with pepper and coriander.... What can I say. I am hungry all over again. So on to the most dangerous thing I have ever done in my life. I have seen a hundred 9 fingered farmers. They catch their fingers in tractor implements all the time. But nothing prepares you for...the crank slicer.
I got this as a freebie hand me down. But it just isn't long enough to slice a pastrami or a pork belly. And the little hold down isn't big enough. This means your fingers are the hold down. Count them now. Count them again when you are done. Use double entry book keeping. Your goal is that the numbers match up in both columns.And you end up with this pile of loveliness. It's tasty, but steam it for another 2 hours and you have the ultimate sandwich. Oh god, I am going to make myself cry. I swore I wouldn't do this. Not here. Not in front of everyone. I gotta go.